Let me cut to the chase: Jack Woodrup’s Vertical Mastery is a fine product and the first one in the category that I have no trouble recommending. If you’ve read my review of the Jump Manual, the top-selling vertical jump e-book, you’ll know that I don’t say such things lightly and found a fair bit to criticize. Whatever, I don’t want to dwell on that because I prefer to say postive things, and with Jack Woodrup’s Vertical Mastery, that’s not a problem.
First of, Jack gives you a complimentary vertical jump e-book that explains the basic training principles for improving your vertical leap. You don’t even have to buy his product to get it. In fact, you can download it directly from this link. Having examined several of the relatively pricey e-books, I can say that Jack’s free book is as good (in fact, I would say generally better) than the vast majority of the paid books out there. This just goes to prove what I’ve said here before: there are no secrets. The content of these "information products" is not different that what you’ll find for free on the net, on this site and elsewhere. They are selling the dream of a shortcut, but in fact, mostly, performance gains require work. But they require smart work, and that’s where Vertical Mastery comes in. I’ll get back to that, but first I want to "sell" you on the free book because it is truly worth looking at.
The Vertical Mastery book is strong on fundamentals and the author is conversant in the latest training research. For strength and conditioning, the trainers I admire most are the guys on the cutting edge of the field like Mike Boyle (Olympic hockey teams) and Gray Cook (inventor of the Functional Movement Screen). These guys are the ones who make the bridge from the research in the labs to the application to athletes. The masters. And they are the guys Woodrup depends on for his principles. This means he does not make mistakes in his book like telling you that the 45-degree legpress machine is safer than squats (as in the Jump Manual as you can read in my review).
It also means that he understands the importance of combining single-leg and double leg exercises and more. This is more than I can say of most of the other books. So right there, you get tremendous and solid information and Jack gives this book away simply to prove to you that he knows his stuff. Frankly, you would be a fool to spend money on an e-book or print book before downloading Jack’s book.
Vertical Mastery Reviewed in Detail
A word about commissions
Now before I get into reviewing his paid software, I’ll just throw this out: if you decide to buy it, I’d love it if you used this link to buy Vertical Mastery (or the link at the end of the page too) because I’ll get a commission. So if you’re grateful for the information on this site, it’s a way to chip in that doesn’t cost you anything. I will add too that I highly recommend Jack’s product and, yes, I will get a commission, but I will point out that I would get a much higher commission by recommending one of the other products, but you’ll see that I don’t. I do my best to keep my reviews straight up and honest.
So if he’s giving away the good stuff, what is he charging for you might ask. Well, Jack’s flagship product is a type of training software. Real software. One of the leading products claims it’s "advanced software" but it’s really just an e-book. Vertical Mastery is in fact a computer program that runs you through a series of tests and then designs a custom workout program based on your test results and your access to training equipment (essentially, whether you have a weight room or not). It’s pretty cool and based on the results when I took the tests, it’s pretty accurate in terms of analysis and training recommendations. The thing that’s cool about this is it is not a "use it once and throw it away" product. You can, for example, run the tests every off season, find your current weak area, and focus your off-season training based on that. So it’s not just a set of exercises or some information that you read once and you’re done with, it’s a sort of virtual coach that you can use for years.
Let me show you a little more of what I mean. You start with the tests. Basically the goal here is to find out whether you need to work more on pure strength or on explosive power and quickness, and to see if you have any left-right asymmetry that needs work. The manual tells you how to do each test and you enter your numbers. If you’re American, you have to convert to metric for a lot of the measurements, but you can do that just by typing something like "52 inches to centimeters" into Google. Below you can see the screen filled in, though not with values from a real test, but it gives you the idea. I have put real numbers in from actually doing the test and found the analysis to be spot on, but these numbers are just semi-random just to get the
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Once you’ve done that, you can hit the build program button and it will analyze your performance, finding your weak spot, give you a complete verbal analysis and a program designed just for you. The advantage of this is that you will get the most benefit from working your weakest skill. So if you can squat like a powerlifter, but you’re slow as molasses, you will get a lot more benefit by working quickness than by trying to add another plate to your squat. So, for the fake numbers entered above, you can see that raw strength is poor (indeed, a 200-pound squat is crap) and the single-leg jump is poor. That show up in the analysis:
Now is where the rubber hits the road. Using this analysis, it’s time to get specific and what this program does is create workouts that will help maintain your strengths, while working on your weakness. So with the fake numbers entered above, you end up with workouts like this:
You’ll notice that since the numbers I put in show poor strength but excellent quickness, and also good left/right symmetry, the program focuses on strength development with lots of squats, deadlifts and lunges. At the same time, there are some single-leg exercises (deadlift) to maintain symmetry and some explosive exercises (hang clean, jump squats). But this is a stremgth-biased program, because that’s the weak area for our theoretical athlete.
Also, in his pitch video, Jack gives a nice live demo of how the software works. Go to his site for that.
So all-in-all I find this pretty cool and way more useful than the plain-old e-book that’s going to be fundamentally the same for everyone. Also, the price is pretty attractive (especially the free book of course). So I find this to be best value of half-dozen or so vertical jump products I’ve evaluated. If you are going to buy just one, this is it. If you are really n a budget, then obviously the free book is an unbeatable value.